Saturday 29 November 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Ressha Sentai ToQger Minipla Hyper Ressha TeiOh

Minipla Hyper Ressha TeiOh

With 2014 quickly drawing to a close, the last of the Ressha Sentai ToQger toys are currently trickling out even though the show will have a month or so left in it next year. As far as the minipla line goes it has been a pretty good year for Super Sentai, although the rest of the toys and the show itself seem to have been met to a rather mixed reception from Western fans (that's a discussion for another review). Rounding off the line we have Hyper Ressha TeiOh - gigantic steam train that almost doubles as a mini-playset, offering compatibility with all the previous trains released in the line so far. Surely nothing could go wrong with a set that offers so much right?

Boxes front

Boxes backBox contents

Hyper Ressha TeiOh comes packaged in four different boxes, which are notable for being marginally bigger than the usual minipla packaging. It isn't so noticeable when you hold them in your hands, but if you compare them to any older boxes you have lying around you'll notice it straight away. The boxes also feel like they're bulging with parts - mainly because some of the pieces that come in this model kit are HUGE in comparison to the parts you usually see from this line. The kit itself is moulded in black and Bandai's signature shade of cheap disgusting gold, with a numerous stickers to cover all the other details (or not, because the finished stickered version is still missing a fair bit of colour).

As usual, from this point onwards the review will be looking at my painted version of the kit. For a comparison of what it looks like if you happily settle for stickers, check out this great review.


The Hyper Ressha (Train mode)

Hyper Ressha from the sideHyper Ressha back shot

Hyper Ressha size comparison

When putting the parts together and slowly building the kit how it all connects together becomes crystal clear (mostly because its mostly made of giant pieces that fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle), but if you're following the box instructions to the letter you'll end up with the kit in the Hyper Ressha train mode. So that's where we'll begin.

As you can see, the Hyper Ressha is an incredibly sizeable piece for the minipla line. Out of the five complete lines of Super Sentai minipla I own (that's Go-Onger and then Gokaiger to present) it is by far the biggest. It utterly dwarves all of the previously released trains, and is also nearly as long as most of the multi-carriage ones. Going by size alone, this kit impressively gives off the feeling of it being the final piece in the ToQger collection and their ultimate robot. That said the train mode does have a few unsightly gaps in it so it isn't the cleanest looking of modes, especially if you're looking at it from the side and can see straight through it.

The Hyper Ressha has a few wheels in its base so can roll along a smooth surface, but lacks a connector at the front or back so sadly can't connect to the other Resshas as part of one glorious convoy. Sure it never happened in the show, but a giant black and gold train connected line of smaller rainbow coloured trains would be a pretty badass sight to behold.

The smaller Hyper Ressha

Securely in the larger trainHyper Ressha from the side

It isn't all just one big giant train thought, as this set also includes the basic Hyper Ressha train (aka the one the ToQgers also use to activate their hyper modes). This is a standard one-carriage train akin the previously released kits (size-wise think the Drill and Shield Ressha), however the build style is rather different thanks to it being incorporated into the larger train's various robot modes. It has wheels fitted to the bottom so can roll along with the other trains, or alternatively can just be plugged neatly into a hole on the top of the Hyper Ressha.


Hyper Ressha TeiOh stands

TeiOh back shot

Maximum posing!TeiOh from the side

To transform the Hyper Ressha into the TeiOh robot mode isn't exactly a complex process. In fact it's a bit of a stretch to even call it a process to begin with. To form TeiOh literally all you do is flip the train up so its standing on its back, bend the small Hyper Ressha train at a 90 degree angle so that the head is exposed and then plug said head into the hole at the top of the body. Sure the pathetically simple process is accurate to the TV show version's transformation, but at least that has flashy CGI and floating train tracks to mask how underwhelming it is.

TeiOh and ToQOhTeiOh and Diesel-Oh

TeiOh and Build DaiOhTeiOh and ChoCho ToQ-DaiOh

In some ways TeiOh feels a lot like a scaled down DX toy, because despite looking pretty good it's little more than a chunky brick with very little mobility. With no legs or neck to speak of, the only points of articulation on this kit are the shoulders and elbows. Don't get me wrong this really is a hefty and imposing looking model kit, but seeing those all those body details moulded in and no split legs or distinct waist is a pretty underwhelming sight. It makes it look less like a robot and more like what it really is - a train plonked on its back with a head plugged into the top. 

Looks great alongside any or all of the ToQger mecha though, so that's something!


A train mode and a robot mode isn't all of TeiOh's tricks though! The set also has a third mode, which is in fact the default mode of the mecha and how it made it's first appearance in the show. Hyper Ressha TeiOh also doubles as the Rainbow Line's main terminal and headquarters, taking the form of a raised platform with multiple tracks and terminals. Getting the kit into this mode is a little more involved than the train to robot transformation, but still rather pretty simple. From train mode all you need to do is unpeg the top section from the bottom, revealing the half of the platform that was hidden inside. This top half of the train is then flipped upside down, with the two hinged sections folded outward. Finally this half is plugged into the back of the other section and voila! You have your Hyper Ressha Terminal.

Oddly enough the instructions don't really specify a place for the smaller Hyper Ressha, although simply pegging it to the back as if it were in robot mode is completely doable.

Rainbow line dockedMore with the Rainbow Line

Trains disembarking

Terminal mode features five separate tracks which any of the smaller Ressha can rest on, but it definitely looks the best with the components of ToQOh on them. The tracks are all long enough to house its respective train snugly, and in the case of the longer three also have a little bit of extra track for them to trundle along on. However its worth noting that despite there being a wealth of connector ports along the tracks, in terminal mode none of the trains actually connect. Those are for an entirely different purpose...


ToQ Rainbow head close up

ToQ Rainbow frontToQ Rainbow back

Remember back in my auxiliary Ressha review how I said they were kind of a throwaway release unless you were dedicated to completing the line? Well it turns out I was completely wrong on that one, as all 11 previous Ressha are required to form the Rainbow Line's ultimate combination - ToQ Rainbow! So if you just happen to be missing the Fire, Police and Shield Ressha (or more) and want to see this form in all its glory - better go start scouring the internet.

This combination transforms from TeiOh's terminal mode, and makes full use of those 11 connector ports that all the other modes have so far ignored. After flipping all of these out the front end of each and every Ressha is plugged into their appropriate place, followed by the whole platform standing up on the hinged ramp section at the bottom. The front of the back panel (now the neck section) then swings downwards, covering the top of the blue, red and green Resshas. The back piece in turn swings down, so that the head section (made up of TeiOh's chest plate with the centre piece flipped over) and Hyper Ressha have a place to slot. After that you have ToQ Rainbow in its gigantic 270mm glory.

(Going back to the other Ressha pieces used for a second, this combo leaves A LOT of spare pieces lying around. Never a good thing when it comes to these "ultimate combos")

Size comparison with Safari GaOh

And that's really about it there is to say about ToQ Rainbow! I'm not even kidding - apart from that rather impressive size (check out the comparison with Safari GaOh above just to see how tall this thing is) there is pretty much no play value in this combination whatever. The kit has no legs to speak of, and the arms are attached via hinges which means they're only capable of swinging inwards and not moving up and down like an ACTUAL ARM SHOULD. This also means that attaching the blade/cannon weapons to each arm is only cosmetic since they will only just sit there. Honestly after a similar thing happened last year with the Bragigas minipla I wasn't expected much, but this seems like an even bigger step backward. Gigant Kyroyuzin couldn't do very much either, but at least that was a case of too much weight being piled on the joints rather than joints not being there in the first place. I feel like a lot of issues with this design (most notably the arms, but also perhaps a split between the legs) could have been resolved with a little more thought, but this being a budget alternative probably came into play somewhere.

In short - ToQ Rainbow is already an incredibly polarising design and if you already don't like it this (along with the DX) aren't going to change your mind. At least it still looks pretty cool in the show though. 

The ToQger minipla kits together

Despite me strongly believing Ressha Sentai ToQger to have spawned the best line of minipla kits in the last few years, I can't help feel that Hyper Ressha TeiOh closes the year's Super Sentai on a massive let down. Size is about all this model kit really has going for it, as the build process is minimal (even for minipla standards), the details lacking and the various modes lacking interactivity. I think it says a lot that I find the Terminal, which on paper probably sounds like the most boring of the four, the most exciting. It's a disappointing end, but rather than end on a completely sour note the ToQger minipla have been an absolute joy to collect and I can't wait to see what delights Shuriken Sentai Ninninger bring in 2015.

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